Coaching Model Experience & Resources
In my role as Instructional Technology Coordinator and edtech consultant I have utilized all varieties of coaching models.
Large Group Training
During the first year in my current position as Instructional Technology Coordinator (2015-2016) I began coaching teachers using this model. As I was still attempting to build relationships in schools and identify myself as a digital leader in my school district, large group training was the most feasible option. I led several trainings across the district/state utilizing this model. Click the links below to view my custom websites I created for two of those events.
Small Group Training
Our school district requires school leaders to lead PLC meetings once a month. As I began to build relationships in my district, I began to frequently attend PLC meetings. This allowed me the opportunity to differentiate my training based on the specific needs of the group I was addressing. Additionally, this was the perfect opportunity to build relationships with the staff.
Additionally I was able to work closely with the Library Media Specialist at Creekside to improve school culture. A good friend of mine says culture is queen and I couldn’t agree more. From the 2014-2015 school year to 2015-2016 school year, Creekside Elementary School raised their state testing scores 11 points. The LMS presented at Kentucky’s ISTE affiliate conference, KYSTE, on using Bitmoji to transform school culture. Here is a recap.
Modeling Lessons in the Classroom
Hardin County Schools is the 4th largest district in the state of Kentucky. With over 14,000 students enrolled and approximately 1,000 certified teachers, modeling lessons 1 on 1 in the classroom just isn’t the best use of my time as the ONLY instructional technology specialist in the district. However, I value innovative instruction and love to model that for my teachers. Several times I have modeled utilizing gSuite to co-lead mini-lessons for teachers across the district. Fun fact, I am born and raised in Hodgenville Kentucky and I am quite the Lincoln enthusiast. When a teacher in one of our high schools was teaching a unit on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, we jumped on a Google Hangout and I led a section of the lesson. You can see a tweet from that day by clicking HERE.
Since then, teachers have begun to utilize Google Hangouts for cross-district collaboration. This has been incredibly powerful for our preschool department. HCS Innovate teacher fellow, Jennifer Arnold, trained all the preschool teachers on Google Hangouts for the sole purpose of collaborating across the district. As teachers confidence began to grow utilizing this tool with eachother they began to find greater opportunities to show their preschool students the world. HERE is a tweet where Jennifer connected her preschool classroom to the illustrator of a book they were currently reading.
Coaching Individual Teachers
During my first year as Instructional Technology Coordinator for Hardin County Schools I quickly realized that to maximize my time and truly impact the teachers and students of our school district I had to create a better system. I discovered I was spending most of my time in the car driving from one school site to another. The sheer geographical size of our district is overwhelming. From our south end school to our north end school the travel time is over an hour. I knew that I had to develop something to make ME (the ONE person in charge of innovative, instructional technology) more impactful.
The HCS Innovate Teacher Fellowship was born during the summer of 2016. My vision was to create a network of innovative, PURPLE COWS (via Seth Godin) in Hardin County Schools and empower them to quite literally change the world. To be completely honest, they have done exactly that. Follow my blog category HERE to read specific examples from the past year but also follow our hashtag HERE to really get a feel for the impact they have made on their students and school, our district and our state. The Hardin County Schools Director of Public Relations did a feature on #HCSinnovate. You can view that here.
This fellowship also allowed me to implement the direct coaching model more effectively. I spent a lot of time with these emerging digital leaders and really pushed them to think outside the box. I tried to empower them to challenge the status quo and dream up new possibilities and breathe life into old, mundane lessons. One specific example that comes to mind is with Stephanie Taylor, HCS Innovate Fellow from North Middle School. I had dropped in to visit her and she was about to start a new lesson. It was a lesson she wanted to re-design. Here is a recap of what we did together.
While I tried to utilize the blended learning model any time I did a large group training, I also incorporated this model in synchronous and asynchronous online learning. I have also spent the past year working with EdTechTeam leading Level 1 and Level 2 Google Certified Educator boot camps. These boot camps, once confirmed, have a website where I immediately add my agenda for the training. Attendees have access to this site immediately are encouraged to browse the links built in. Often times, for two day boot camps, attendees will have “homework” to work through on their own.
Asynchronous Online Learning
In my position, I am always trying new things, experimenting with new models in an effort to find the “thing” that works best. One “thing” I tried almost immediately when I accepted the position as Instructional Technology Coordinator was an online professional development site. You can access the site HERE but be aware that many pieces of this site are blocked for only users in Hardin County Schools. I created several online PDs that counted as PD credit in our online system. Additionally, when we brought in big speakers, we were able to archive those trainings on this site and, thanks to gSuite permissions, only allow HCS viewers to see them. We have generated over 300 hours of professional development credit across the district via HCS Digital Learning Portal.
As gSuite for Education began to grow in popularity across Hardin County Schools, more teachers wanted to learn more. It was getting harder for me (and the HCS Innovate teacher fellows) to keep up with the demand so we turned to Google Certified Educator certifications in the EDU Training Center. As it turns out, teachers LOVED the recognition and credibility this gave them. I worked closely together with the fellows to really recognize their achievements and “roll out the red carpet” for them when they passed.
You can find our online celebration album HERE. Be sure to read the comments and excitement each of these photos have built with members of the specific teachers PLN.
As more and more teachers began to certify more and more teachers began to ask questions about this process with me. In January of 2017 I launched the first “cohort” to prepare for the Google Certified Educator certifications…
Synchronous Online Learning
Once momentum began to build for passing the Google Certified Educator exams, I decided to lead a virtual “course” to help teachers in their quest. I began to notice that teachers were reluctant, thinking they didn’t know much and quite honestly needed a safety net. I built a Google Classroom for Level 1 certifications and accepted 15 teachers. The teachers were to work through the Level 1 curriculum on Google’s EDU Training Center website and we would meet weekly via Google Hangouts to cover FAQ or any content on which they wanted further clarification.
Once my first cohort passed their exam, people began asking for Level 2 and another Level 1. Again, as the popularity for “Drivers Ed” grew, I had a hard time keeping up with the demand. This synchronous online learning evolved into asynchronous by basically utilizing Google Classroom as a forum for questions, comments, resources and extra help. I made quick screen casts using Screencastify extension showing teachers quick how-to snippets focusing on the content in the EDU Training Center. I encouraged them to use these resources as a supplement to the training center. As of 5/1/2017 I have a 100% pass rate for all attendees of “Drivers Ed.”
Thanks to the popularity of the Google certifications, we have decided to model the HCS Innovate Teacher Fellowship for year 2 after the Google Innovator Academy where I will train my fellows in design thinking and help them develop and iterate an innovative project that can be scaled district/state wide. Additionally, we will be hosting a Google Certified Trainer boot camp (thanks to EdTechTeam) in September of 2017 where all schools in Hardin County School district will have a Google Certified Trainer in their building.
Another fun synchronous online learning experiment was Snow Day PD. During winter of 2016 we were all completely irritated with the excessive amount of snow days that our district had endured. During one particular afternoon of peeking out the window and watching the weather channel for the impending threat of snow (AGAIN) I ran to our Director of PD’s office and got approval to do a last minute 3 hour online professional development in the case of yet another snow day. It’s a hot mess and I am literally in my pajamas and no make up but it was a blast and we had SO MANY teachers and admins interacting with us on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. So much fun. You can check it out here and also our hashtag from the day here.